All the Single Ladies?


Here are just a few of the rules of conduct a proper female must adhere to during the late 1800s:

A single woman never addressed a gentleman without an introduction.
A single woman never walked out alone. Her chaperone had to be older and preferably married.
Proper women never rode alone in a closed carriage with a man who wasn’t a relative.
A woman would never call upon an unmarried gentleman at his place of residence.
A woman couldn’t receive a man at home if she was alone. Another family member had to be present in the room.
A gentlewoman never looked back after anyone in the street, or turned to stare at others at church, the opera, etc.

After reading that list I finally understood when gossip began to circulate about young Mary McCulloch of Watson’s Corners and she felt she had to publish this letter in the Perth Courier. I also found a similar one from her in the Almonte Gazette.



Downtown Watson’s Corners 1900–  Lanark Genealogical Society


Perth Courier, October 6, 1899

To The Editor of the Perth Courier:

It has lately come to my attention that a misleading and utterly false report has been circulating about me on the 12th July last in Perth.  First of all, let me say that I was not in the company of any man that day and also that I did not taste a drop of drink of any kind except a cup of tea for my dinner; and that I left Perth before 5:00 that afternoon on the Lanark stage and was at my home at Watson’s Corners before dark.  If it was necessary for me to do so I could get fifty people to prove that every word of the above was strictly true.  Thank you so much for your space.

I remain,

Very Truly Yours,

Mary McCulloch, Watson’s Corners

I understood what single women went through, and felt so sorry for young Mary. I needed to find out more. After losing myself for hours trying to find this woman; I eventually found out that Mary B. Dunlop McCulloch was not a single woman as I thought, but was indeed married to a William McCulloch at the time. I think my stomach did a few turnovers in angst for her.

Who knew what then 24 year-old Mary was going through, or did, or didn’t do– but one thing is certain, she had to clear her name. Was it just idle gossip-or had she really had a drop she shouldn’t have? Were there really 50 people in the area that could defend her honour?

Mary ended up having one son and was buried in Highland Cemetery in MacDonald’s Corners.


Read the Perth Courier at Archives Lanark

Read the Almonte Gazette here.


About lindaseccaspina

Linda Knight Seccaspina was born in Cowansville, Quebec about the same time as the wheel was invented and the first time she realized she could tell a tale was when she got caught passing her smutty stories around in Grade 7 at CHS by Mrs. Blinn. When Derek "Wheels" Wheeler from Degrassi Jr. High died in 2010, Linda wrote her own obituary. Some people said she should think about a career in writing obituaries. Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa from 1976-1996. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off she finally found her calling. Is it sex drugs and rock n' roll you might ask? No, it is history. Seeing that her very first boyfriend in Grade 5 (who she won a Twist contest with in the 60s) is the head of the Brome Misissiquoi Historical Society and also specializes in local history back in Quebec, she finds that quite funny. She writes every single day and is also a columnist for Hometown News and Screamin's Mamas. She is a volunteer for the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum, an admin for the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page, and a local guest speaker. She has been now labelled an historian by the locals which in her mind is wrong. You see she will never be like the iconic local Lanark County historian Howard Morton Brown, nor like famed local writer Mary Cook. She proudly calls herself The National Enquirer Historical writer of Lanark County, and that she can live with. Linda has been called the most stubborn woman in Lanark County, and has requested her ashes to be distributed in any Casino parking lot as close to any Wheel of Fortune machine as you can get. But since she wrote her obituary, most people assume she's already dead. Linda has published six books, "Menopausal Woman From the Corn," "Cowansville High Misremembered," "Naked Yoga, Twinkies and Celebrities," "Cancer Calls Collect," "The Tilted Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place," and "Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac." All are available at Amazon in paperback and Kindle. Linda's books are for sale on Amazon or at Wisteria · 62 Bridge Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada, and at the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum · 267 Edmund Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada--Appleton Museum-Mississippi Textile Mill and Mill Street Books and Heritage House Museum and The Artists Loft in Smith Falls.

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